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A recently published study in the Journal of Diabetes Technology and Science provides some details about a difficult relationship between people with diabetes/hyperglycemia and the COVID-19 virus.  The study looked at 1,122 people hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus in the United States in March and April.  40% of the study participants had been previously diagnosed with diabetes or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels).  The study outlined the death rates for patients with and without diabetes/hyperglycemia.  This is what the study found:

  • Death rate for patients with diabetes/hyperglycemia:  29%
  • Death rate for patients with neither condition:  6%

There was also a startling relationship between people who had never previously been diagnosed with diabetes/hyperglycemia but did for the first time at this hospital stay.   The death rate for this set of study participants was 42%.  This suggests that the death rate could be higher for people who are not managing these conditions well or at all.  While there is still a lot to learn, and there were some limitations involved with the data, numbers out of China are suggesting a difficult relationship as well.

So what does this mean?  Why is this important?

If you have diabetes/hyperglycemia, you should probably take extra precautions to avoid opportunities to contract the COVID-19 virus.  During these tough shelter-in-place times it is easy to lose sight of the immensity of the virus we’re dealing with.  Many of us have not taken all of the precautions possible to avoid contact with the virus.  Keep in mind that your life could very much be at stake from contact.  I know, this is great advice for everyone, but it is definitely worth the reminder.

Let’s dive a little bit deeper into diabetes.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that as of July 2015 that more than 100 million Americans have diabetes or are prediabetic.  30.3 million, or 9.4% of Americans, have diabetes.  And another 84.1 million have prediabetes.  Prediabetes typically turns into diabetes within 5 years if left untreated.  Roughly one third of Americans are diabetic or have prediabetes.  This is truly a condition that impacts all of us.  These statistics show that we’re either dealing with the condition and/or we know a lot of people that are.

While we know a higher death rate has been observed in COVID-19 patients with diabetes than patients without the chronic condition, the concerns should run much deeper.  Diabetes can lead to premature death (7th leading cause of death in America), vision loss, heart disease, kidney failure, and amputations of body parts.

The good news is that diabetes can be managed by diet, physical activity, and the appropriate use of insulin and other medications used to manage blood sugar levels.  Some specific ways to manage/avoid getting type 2 diabetes are as follows:

  1. Cut or limit sugar and refined carbs from your diet
  2. Work out regularly
  3. Drink water as your primary beverage
  4. Take serious steps to lose weight if you’re overweight
  5. Quit smoking
  6. Limit portion sizes

The bottom line is that diabetes is linked to premature death in both the COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 worlds.  And many of us are either dealing with it directly or are at risk to deal with it at some point in the future.  There is hope to manage the condition.  Take a hard look at the ideas listed above.  These can easily be adapted into any lifestyle!

Food 4 Fuel has a wide selection of foods to help your diabetes management lifestyle.  We make it easy and convenient for you to treat your body with care.  Take a look at our meal options here.  Use the discount code beatdiabetes10 to get 10% off of your next order!

Crowding Out

Our lives as we’ve known them have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 virus.  There has been a lot of instability. We haven’t been able to go out and do the things we like to do.  We haven’t been able to see the people that we enjoy seeing. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to keep our jobs have had to adjust to a life of working at home, which brings a lot of complexity to our already hectic daily routines.

We’ve all been finding ways to cope with this new life.  It has been easy to turn to quick ways to relieve stress.  Many people have turned to comfort food as a method of feeling better.  And this has led to something we’ve been calling the “COVID 15” or the gaining of additional pounds due to our isolation and stress. 

We’re here to remind people of one healthy eating practice that can be used at any time to curb the feelings of hunger and stress that lead to unhealthy eating practices.  The practice is called “crowding out.” “Crowding out” means getting more out of the calories we put into our body and finding ways to feel more full so we don’t overeat.

We’ve come up with 5 ideas to help you implement a “crowding out” strategy into your daily diet.  Here is our list of ideas:

1) Water

Most Americans don’t drink enough water on a daily basis.  That is one of the main reasons that our bodies end up craving extra food at the end of the day.  Filling your body with water means not filling it with useless calories. And some studies have found that drinking more water on a daily basis can help to boost your metabolism, putting your body in a better place to effectively manage weight.  Increase your water intake on a daily basis to feel more full and help you avoid unnecessary calories.

2) Change Your Breakfast Habits

The average American breakfast is filled with carbohydrates with little nutritional value.  These breakfasts include cereal, bagels, pop tarts, and other sugary pastries. Replace these breakfasts with eggs or oatmeal.  Both of these foods are nutritionally dense and lead to feelings of greater fullness to help you avoid that mid-morning snack. You can also add vegetables and make an omelette to get an even greater “crowd-out” effect from your breakfast.

3) Add Salmon To Your Diet

Our last blog post outlined the health benefits that can be gained from adding salmon to your diet.  Salmon is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making it one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can eat.  And some studies have found that fish protein has the strongest effect on satiety of any protein. Salmon is essential to feeling full and being healthy.

4) Rethink Your Snacks

The best advice on this front is to replace cookies and potato chips with popcorn or vegetables.  Popcorn has more fiber and less calories than the potato chip alternative. You can also cut up a cucumber or some bell peppers and eat them with hummus.  Vegetables are more filling because of their water content and hummus will give a filling effect because it’s bean based. Beyond being more filling they will also carry vital nutrients to the body.

5) Avoid Distraction At Dinner

Avoid the television while eating dinner.  Distraction leads to larger portion sizes. Sit down and eat at the table, even if you’re alone.  You’ll find yourself being more aware of what you’re doing and you’ll feel full more quickly. This will help you avoid useless calories at the end of the evening.

“Crowding out” is the most effective strategy you can use to feel healthy and happy and avoid the weight gain that our isolated lives can create.  Once we elevate our health consciousness we can get to the point that we recognize that everything we eat and drink is either feeding disease or improving health outcomes. Then, and only then, we can make intentional fueling decisions.